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Records of the National Council of Jewish Women, New York Section

Identifier: I-469

Scope and Content Note

These records document New York Section's early history to the present, representing a significant portion of its work in community programming and advocacy, as well as its supporting administrative, fundraising, membership, and public relations activities. As a section of the National Council, its records also include a substantial amount of material regarding the National Organization's programs, events, publications, and reports, dating from 1896 through 1999.

The New York Section has lobbied for the rights of children, the disabled, the elderly, families, the homeless, immigrants, Israel, and women. Throughout its history, the New York Section has often initiated new community services in New York City, evaluating the city's needs. Often its new community service became viable and independent, or was transferred to another agency. Its community services have encompassed a wide range of social issues: aging, child care, consumer telephone referrals, counseling support, crime prevention, the disabled, domestic violence, early child education, feminism, homelessness, hunger, immigrants, Israel, Jewish education and promotion, literacy, probation, the sick, summer recreation for children and the elderly, and war relief.

Supporting functions of the New York Section are documented through Board of Directors and Executive Directors' minutes; various program, steering, and planning Committees; Presidential, Vice-Presidential, and Executive Directors' files (not complete); Histories; Fundraising events; Membership events; Seminars; Volunteer Teas and Meetings; Public Relations press releases and brochures; the Bulletin, Yearbooks, and Scrapbooks.

Although the records of the New York Section represent a majority of the Section's activities; records for programs undertaken by other agencies may reside with the new agency. Among the programs transferred is the Service for the Foreign Born, which also has some representation in this collection. Branch records also are somewhat documented, but belong to each individual branch. Presidential, Vice-Presidential, and Executive Directors' files may also be privately owned, and are sparsely existent in the collection.

This collection includes audio tapes, blueprints, bulletins, by-laws, calendars, citations, correspondence, financial records, flyers, grant applications, invitations, invocations, lists, minutes, news clippings, photographs, plaques, posters, press releases, reports, scrapbooks, scripts, souvenir journals, and yearbooks.

Due to its disparate original order, the collection has been organized according to the current agency structure and collection's formats. The series are arranged as follows: Series I: Administrative; Series II: Community Services; Series III: Fundraising; Series IV: Membership; Series V: National Council of Jewish Women; Series VI: Public Affairs; Series VII: Public Relations; Series VIII: Publications; Series IX: Photographs; Series X: Audio and Visual Material; and Series XI: Scrapbooks.


  • Creation: undated, 1895-2004

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.

Use Restrictions

No permission is required to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection, as long as the usage is scholarly, educational, and non-commercial. For inquiries about other usage, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at

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Historical Note

Early Years

The National Council of Jewish Women was founded at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. Under the auspices of the World Parliament of Religion, Hannah Solomon, a prominent Jewish Chicago clubwoman, organized the Jewish Woman's Congress. Circular letters were sent to large cities, asking Jewish women to hold local mass meetings electing delegates to meetings in Chicago convening on September 4, 1893. At these larger meetings, upon hearing papers and speeches by Jewish women, attendees formed the National Council of Jewish Women with the intent to promote religion, philanthropy, and education.1

Delegates did not delay in translating the energy from the Jewish Women's Congress into the formation of local Council Sections. Synagogue sisterhoods had not yet emerged as regular features of American synagogues.2 An attempt in May of 1894, led by Minnie D. Louis, produced dissension between Orthodox and Reform women and prevented the successful organization of the New York Section. It wasn't until November 1894 that a group of 120 Jewish women formed the New York Section, and Rebekah Kohut, widow of Rabbi Alexander Kohut, with both Conservative and progressive ties, became its first president. Other leading women included Julia Richman, Esther S. Ruskay, Mrs. Frederick Nathan, Sarah Lyons, Minnie Isaacs, Dinah Gitterman, and Mrs. David L. Leventritt. Kohut noted, "The Council brought every sort of personality into its fold, people of the aggressive organizing type, of the modest retiring sort, women who were lukewarm about their religion, women who were intensely religious, members of the old families, and some of the latest comers to America."3 Kohut worked especially to develop collaboration among the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform women who agreed to meet on the common ground of social service. New York Section hosted the National Council's first convention, November 15-19, 1896, attended by 250 members. Having been recently absent from Section affairs due to family needs, Kohut welcomed National Council but then resigned as New York Section president, believing in the rotation of office and wanting to devote more time to study.4

Early Religious Focus

New York Section was founded as a religious organization. Its early efforts included the formation of Study Circles. These discussion groups familiarized women with traditional Jewish texts previously accessible only through male study and discussion. While this was not an invention of National Council, it was the first Jewish organization to utilize the principle of adult education.5 In such a setting, women became conversant in expression of American gender roles within a Jewish context, creating a unique American Jewish womanhood.6 Local rabbis rather than Council members, however, led these Circles.7 New York Section's second president, Rachel H. Sulzberger, noted that the Study Circles "quickened the religious feeling of the community."8 Study Circles declined as National Council endeavored to meet the increasing needs of immigration and urbanization. Although National Council moved away from its original religious mission, it continued to be involved in the promotion and education of Judaism.

National Council was the offspring of the economic and social success achieved by German Jewish immigrants in the United States. As this community of German Jews matured and stabilized, they developed a uniquely American form of Reform Judaism as a way of adapting to American life without losing their religious identity. Councilwomen grew up in this community of German Jews, and the development of Reform Judaism had a tremendous influence on Council's approach to religion. In the ensuing years, as at its inception, Council was often caught in a power struggle between Reform and traditional Judaism.9 An early conflict, over Sunday Sabbath observance, propelled the Council towards social welfare work and deterred its identity as a religious organization. National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods formulated in 1913 partly to fill a vacuum created as National Council moved away from religious activity to educational, social welfare, intellectual, and cultural work.10

New Emphasis: Social Reform

The early projects of the Council concentrated on offering Study Circles for religious study and religious classes to immigrant children in various city venues, including Randall's Island. Beginning with pioneering the opening of a Recreation Room on Orchard Street in 1899 to protect immigrant girls and women from the pull of dance halls and the white slave trade, the Council soon changed its main focus to social reform work. Sadie American, National Council secretary, moved from Chicago to New York City in 1901, where she became president of the New York Section. Her emphasis on social welfare, particularly immigrant aid, became evident in the New York Section as well as the National Council's activities. Because so many Jewish immigrants came through Ellis Island, the burden of immigrant aid work fell to the New York Section. As the National Council shifted its emphasis away from religious work to social welfare work, immigrant aid became the National Council's primary focus. That change enhanced the power of New York Section and its president, power that other Sections resented.11

Arbitration with National Office

Administrative differences led to tension between New York Section, National Council, and other sections, particularly as a result of Sadie American's leadership style. She came under increasing criticism for her sometimes brusque manner and autocratic style. First attacked for her support of Sunday Sabbath observance, National Council members still reelected her as corresponding secretary at the 1900 triennial convention, then again in 1903 and 1905. But by 1914, no longer able to deflect criticism of her actions and her manner; she resigned as National Council secretary. New York Section promptly followed the pattern in vogue among dissatisfied Sections - it seceded. As the nation's largest Council Section, with membership dues constituting a seventh of National Council's entire budget, New York was instrumental in conducting Council's immigrant aid work. Under the experienced leadership of American, New York Section continued to maintain immigration work, and finally agreed to binding arbitration with National Council, resulting in New York Section's pledge of loyalty to the National Council. The Ellis Island programs remained under the jurisdiction of the National Council's Board. A year after its secession, New York Section returned to National Council membership, with a new President and a new Board.12

Community Program Pioneer

New York Section initiated and sponsored several projects, based on urgent needs, that later became independent entities. Recreation Rooms and Settlement became independent in 1905. New York Section's work with the blind in 1906 led to the 1914 formation of the New York Guild for the Jewish Blind. Lakeview Home opened in 1905 and provided a progressive haven for unmarried women and wayward girls; it became independent in 1917. In 1920, the New York Section at the Triennial suggested an annual event promoting Council and Judaism in synagogues throughout the country, and Council Sabbath became a National Council program. In 1945, New York Section ventured into group therapy in partnership with the Jewish Board of Guardians. The first of its kind, a treatment center for emotionally disturbed children, Council Child Development Center, opened in 1947. The Center became independent in 1956. Pregnancy Loss Support Program, started in 1983 and still functioning, introduced this area of counseling to the country.

Rebekah Kohut, first New York Section president, looked back on the Council work after its first thirty years and commented, "I should like to pause here... and speak more of the Council and what it stands for in its thirty years of existence. Besides its valuable contribution to Jewish life, and the fact that it gave women of our faith a national outlook, its aid to immigrants, its Americanization programme, its co-operation with congregations, its efforts in the correction of social evils, its voluntary suppression of its own identity in the gathering of war relief funds for the American Jewish Relief Committee, and its considerable service in Europe during the critical post-war period, are among a few of its achievements.13

NCJW, New York Section Today

Currently New York Section of National Council of Jewish Women is organized with a president, six vice presidents, and a board of directors who discuss local needs and strategic responses to contemporary Section programs. With the practiced experience of past presidents, vice presidents, and board members who continue to participate in a variety of ways, and with a professional administrative staff, New York Section functions as a volunteer organization involved in progressive social change, education, and community service.

Below is a detailed summary of New York Section's activities, listed under the following categories


  1. Advocacy
  2. Aging
  3. Children and Families
  4. Counseling and Support Groups
  5. Hunger
  6. Illness andDisability
  7. Immigration
  8. Jewish Women's Resource Center
  9. ReligiousSchools
  10. Religious Activities Today
  11. War Relief

Advocacy: In an effort to reach current public needs, New York Section has used social advocacy to promote and legislate change. From its early years, New York Section has advocated for meaningful child labor laws, mothers' pensions, slum clearance, good low-income housing, and necessary public health programs. The Section fought for minimum wage laws, women's suffrage, anti-discrimination laws, and liberalized immigration quotas.

In support for the State of Israel and as a long standing member of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, New York Section has sent telegrams and letters to United States Presidents, New York congressmen, and Manhattan legislators urging continued efforts to seek peace in the Middle East, expressing dismay at shifts of federal support after the Camp David agreement in 1978, and has asked American leaders to abide by responsibility and commitment to the state of Israel through the 1980s to the present. The Section participates in parades, lectures, conferences, and financial support, particularly with the Israel Emergency Fund, and continues to applaud, question, and provide informed briefings to Congress.

In the 1980s New York Section advocated for the family, sponsoring a public forum on "The Jewish Family: Evolution or Revolution" in 1980. Through the decades, the Section has supported Roe vs. Wade and collaborated with the New York State Family Planning Media Consortium and the New York State Department of Health. Its 1989 legislative priorities included efforts to maintain a progressive attitude to making a woman's right to choose safe. New York Section continues to campaign for appropriate childcare and education.

Through the 1990s, New York Section continued to actively lobby on issues of reproductive freedom, aging, family and work needs, health care, hunger, crime prevention, education, and support for Israel. New York Section sponsored conferences on sweatshops, with a No Sweatshop campaign, elder abuse, and domestic violence, and has assumed a leading role in coalitions of organizations dedicated to eliminating abusive conditions at home and in the workplace. In 1999 New York Section co-founded New York Walks to End Domestic Violence, an annual event that raises public awareness in cooperation with over sixty participating organizations in New York City. New York Section recognizes the importance of the separation of church and state and opposes the use of public funds to finance parochial education.

Aging:To combat the loneliness and fears of older refugees and the growing surge of the elderly population following World War II, New York Section opened Council Club for Older People on the Upper West Side in 1946. The first senior full-day center in Manhattan, it met an essential social need with a broad spectrum of programs and opened the door for successive programs all over the City. In 1957, the expanded Club became the Katharine Engel Center for Older People. The Council Workshop for Seniors, officially opening in 1960, provided employment for retired people who needed financial opportunities. Now known as Council Senior Center, National Council's efforts to serve the aged continue to the present.

Children and Families: Women and children have always been a priority for the members of New York Section. Providing day camps, summer camps, day care, religious school, and pre-kindergarten programs, all occurring at Council House and Section settlement houses from 1900 through the 1930s. New York Section members organized the Washington Heights Day Nursery in 1939. In 1946, together with the Jewish Board of Guardians, New York Section pioneered a treatment center for emotionally disturbed children in a nursery school setting - Council Child Development Center. The Council Youth Program, begun in 1957, offered services for boys held awaiting trial at the Brooklyn House of Detention, where volunteers provided educational and recreational activities and acted as a link between families, prisoners, and jail officials. A subsequent survey of children in the New York City court system led to the implementation of an innovative program at Manhattan Family Court that provided guidance to those unable to cope with the complexities of the legal system. In 1964, Mayor Wagner chose New York Section to participate in pre-kindergarten classes as part of the Federal Head Start program. The Children's Library Program with its Book-Go-Round mobile lending library, opening in 1969, brought books and reading experiences to schools and day centers in disadvantaged neighborhoods. In association with the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, New York Section opened the Council Child Care Center in 1983, providing accredited day care for the children of employees of Jewish communal agencies.

Currently, the Children's Literacy Program maintains small libraries in day care centers and public schools, with volunteers to read to the children and help them develop reading skills. The Whitney Artreach program offers elementary school students the opportunity to understand and appreciate art. New York Section also sponsors a City early childhood intervention program, Home Instruction Program for Pre-School Youngsters (HIPPY), in collaboration with the Citizens Advice Bureau and United Neighborhood Houses in the South Bronx, teaching parents of four and five-year-olds to teach their own children.

Counseling and Support Groups: New York Section became the first organization in the country to provide telephone counseling and support groups for people grieving over miscarriage, stillbirth, and newborn death, by establishing the Pregnancy Loss Support Group. Section's Troubleshooter program operated in conjunction with WCBS-TV. Volunteers responded to letters and phone calls, and researched information to help people work through government bureaucracy and consumer problems. The Bereavement Support Group, organized in 1997, offers support and solace to those dealing with the loss of a loved one. In response to September 11, 2001, New York Section staffed a help-line, NY1 For You, in cooperation with NY1 News, to provide information and referrals for people directly affected by the World Trade Center disaster.

Hunger: In the 1980s, New York City faced epidemic problems with hunger. Since 1983, New York Section volunteers have served a complete meal every Wednesday evening at their soup kitchen on West 72nd Street, and sandwiches and fruit are distributed to overflow people unable to fit. A food pantry was added to distribute emergency packages of food staples for home use to individuals and families. The Family Soup kitchen furnishes a Sunday brunch for families with children.

Illness and Disability: The needs of the sick and the disabled became a growing priority for New York Section. In the early 1900s New York Section was unique in its commitment to assist the blind; volunteers read to the blind and taught blind children ways to become self sufficient, providing religious classes and recreational activities for them. Other sections across the country soon followed, and the program eventually incorporated into the Jewish Guild for the Blind.

In 1907, New York Section learned that among the indigent, sick, and disabled people living at the time on Blackwell's Island were Jews in desperate need of kosher food, clothing, and personal and religious attention. As a benevolent association, the women began visiting and providing for islanders' needs. In the early decades, volunteers rowed to the islands to serve the chronically ill. In 1927, New York Section moved beyond simple welfare provisions to build a synagogue and engage a rabbi in an effort to maintain religious values and identity. When Goldwater Memorial Hospital was built in 1950, New York Section furnished and dedicated the Gilda Roaman Chapel, which serviced about 300 Jewish patients.14 They sent volunteers to the Metropolitan Hospital to help toddlers and to assist the overworked staff, also furnishing a children's recreation room.

The Jackson Stricks scholarship provides assistance for the physically disabled helping them learn marketable skills to achieve independent living. The Gail Heather Coates Scholarship provides supplementary aid to graduate students in the field of special education.

Since the 1980s, New York Section has worked to meet the needs of patients suffering with AIDS. The Pediatric AIDS Caring Team (PACT) offers physical stimulation and comfort to AIDS afflicted babies living at the Incarnation Children's Center in Washington Heights. Volunteers with the AIDS Friendly Visitor Program provide birthday parties and holiday entertainment for the AIDS patients at Goldwater Memorial Hospital. Knitwit volunteers create hand-knitted toys, sweaters, and other gifts for distribution to babies, children, and adults in hospitals and residential facilities.

Immigration: New York Section pioneered efforts to help newly arriving immigrants, opening recreation rooms and settlement houses with English classes, religious instruction, job training, and social opportunities. At President Grover Cleveland's request, volunteers were organized to meet incoming ships at Ellis Island, offering aid to bewildered girls, protecting them from exploitation and unscrupulous employers. Volunteers assisted newcomers in finding shelter and acclimation. New York Section opened the Lower East Side Settlement House (Council House) on St. Marks Place and offered a full scale program: a mothers' club, a counseling program, a mental hygiene clinic (one of the first established in a settlement house), a kindergarten, and religious classes.

A number of immigrant girls were forced into crime and vice, ending up in correctional institutions. New York Section volunteers paid weekly visits to Bedford and Hudson reformatories offering advice and assistance. In 1907, New York Section opened Lakeview Home, a new concept in its time, for unmarried mothers and wayward girls. The Girls Home Club opened in 1917. First a refuge for parolees, it soon became a haven for teenage girls needing guidance and affection.

In 1928, because of a dramatic shift of the Jewish immigrant population from the Lower East Side to the Bronx, New York Section opened a new Council House on Forest Avenue. Included in the program was the first maternal health clinic in a New York settlement, an employment service for women, and a sewing workshop for wives of the unemployed. In time, as the neighborhood became multi-racial, Council expanded its services to all groups in the area. A yearly attendance of over 69,000 took advantage of some 150 programs. New York Section remained in the Bronx until 1945 when the Council House building was given to the community at a ceremony attended by Eleanor Roosevelt.

After World War II, New York Section worked to serve Holocaust victims. Volunteers in the Services to the Foreign Born program worked to reunite families and located relatives for almost 24,000 people. Job training helped new immigrants start over, later evolving into the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA).

Jewish Women's Resource Center: The Jewish Women's Resource Center began in 1977, when a small group of Jewish feminists decided to put aside stereotypes and examine the full range of Jewish women's experiences, including the religious and secular, the private and public. The JWRC joined New York Section in 1982. On November 15, 2000, the JWRC was rededicated and named in honor of New York Section volunteer Eleanor Leff.

The JWRC maintains an extensive research library, interpreting the Jewish women's movement, housing important literature, and preserving unique documents with particular attention to document and explore the interplay of feminism and Jewish tradition. The library includes books, studies, unpublished dissertations, liturgies, rituals, baby-naming ceremonies, Rosh Chodesh services, feminist haggadot and bat mitzvah ceremonies, egalitarian ketubot, in over 11,000 documents about Jewish women. JWRC publications include Jewish Women's Literary Annual; Which Lilith? Feminist Writers Re-create the World's First Woman; and Di Froyen: Proceedings of the 1995 Conference on Women and Yiddish. The JWRC offers book discussion groups, lectures, seminars, workshops, and readings. The JWRC's Jewish Women's Poetry Project encourages published and unpublished poets to perfect their craft.

The JWRC has sponsored support groups for women rabbinical students, for older women's empowerment, and for Jewish lesbians. Conferences have explored "Grandmothers, Mothers, and Daughters;" "Jewish Women and Jewish Men;" "Jewish Women in the Arts;" "Feminist Judaism;" and "Women and Yiddish." The JWRC led the revival of Rosh Chodesh observances and Tu b'Shvat seders.

Religious Schools

One way that Council worked to serve the growing needs of immigration while adhering to their primary goal of promoting Judaism was through religious schools. New York Section pioneered a new movement with the coordination of such schools, mostly for immigrant women and children, with the intention of instilling Jewish pride and identity as well as religious education. In particular, a religious school was organized for deaf Jewish children. At its height, religious school attendance reached seven hundred Jews.15 By 1915, three of these religious schools had been closed, and in 1916, New York Section worked in a partnership with the New York City Educational Alliance, the Young Men's Hebrew Association, and the Orach Chaim Sisterhood to coordinate instruction, upkeep, and activity of the schools.16 Particularly, the New York Section provided religious instruction for Jewish women at the Bedford State Reformatory, the Magdalen Home, Shelter Home for Young Women, and the Florence Crittenden League Home, where Jewish services were conducted on Sunday afternoons during the same time that Christian services were provided for Christian women and girls.17 A Book of Prayer for Jewish Girls was published by New York Section in 1917 in an effort to reach this particular population. Jewish services and holidays were observed at Section's settlement houses, and children participated in Sukkoth, Seder, and Purim events. A series of "Bible Stories in Motion Pictures" was featured during the month of January 1912, utilizing new technology to educate and attract the masses.

Religious Activities Today

In 1920, New York Section suggested an annual Council Sabbath that was accepted by National Office at its Triennial. Council Sabbath promoted traditional Sabbath observance and the National Council; Council members addressed congregations in special services at local synagogues. New York Section held the event, which takes place on the Sabbath closest to Purim, between 1920 and 1960, and later reactivated it in 1980.

Since 1927 with the dedication of Welfare Island Synagogue, New York Section has provided religious services to patients on Roosevelt Island. New York Section's Contemporary Jewish Affairs programs address issues facing American Jews and the continuance of Jewish families. The Jewish Women's Resource Center examines feminism and Jewish tradition.

War Relief:

Spanish American War

New York Section formed a Red Cross Auxiliary in collaboration with all the Jewish women's organizations in the City.

World War I Relief

National Council, as the first national organization of Jewish women, wished to serve during World War I under its own auspices, believing that it should stand as a unit alongside the Young Women's Christian Association and the Red Cross. Jewish male leaders, however, wanted all Jewish efforts to be coordinated through the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Welfare Board, so Council supported War efforts through these venues, as well as with the American Jewish Relief Committee and the Federation of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York.18 Thus financial support as well as bandages made in collaboration with the Red Cross helped support the War.

World War II

The impact of World War II was significant for the New York Section, evidenced in Section activity and records, and war support ran rampantly through this time. A brochure entitled "It's their Fight and Ours" publicized its 50th anniversary by semantically linking National Council members with soldiers. Rhetorical messages employed military references as Council programs advertised their various programs as a type of battle campaign. The Section sold $1 million in Liberty Bonds. A moment of silence during the April 19, 1944 meeting commemorated the Battle of Warsaw. The Red Cross awarded the New York Section with a citation for raising funds. Funds were regularly disbursed to War Emergency Funds. Members created Council Club canteen and dormitory for servicemen on furlough in the City. National Council of Jewish Women's New York Section celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1944, a significant transitional period.

Refugees, World War II

New York Section responded to the after-effects of World War II by offering special assistance to refugees from the Holocaust, particularly through their Services to the Foreign Born program, which worked to reunite families and provide job training. Council looked abroad to the deprived children of France, Africa, and Israel, and launched Ship-A-Box, sending toys and educational materials for distribution to needy youngsters in children's homes, day care centers, and schools.

New York Section Presidents

  1. Rebekah Kohut, 1894-1896
  2. Rachel Hays Sulzberg, 1896-1899
  3. Annie Zuckerman, 1899-1901
  4. Sadie American, 1901-1916
  5. Constance Sporborg, 1916-1921
  6. Cecile Lehman, 1921-1924
  7. Clarice Josephy, 1924-1928
  8. Helen Sachs Straus, 1928-1932
  9. Alice de Young Kay, 1932-1935
  10. Beatrice Kahn Sulzberger, 1935-1941
  11. Helen Garfunkel, 1941-1943
  12. Mildred Goetz, 1943-1949
  13. Lucy Broido, 1949-1953
  14. Jane Strauss, 1953-1955
  15. Katharine Engel, 1955-1957
  16. Ruth Samuel, 1956-1957
  17. Marie Louise Glauber, 1957-1959
  18. Constance Stern, 1959-1961
  19. Rita Tishman, 1961-1967
  20. Ruth Zimmerman, 1967-1971
  21. Pegi Roaman, 1971-1973
  22. Carol Bernstein, 1973-1978
  23. Sally Broido, 1979-1983
  24. Nancy Rubinger, 1983-1990
  25. Ernestine J. Rasch, 1990-1993
  26. Roberta K. Pincus, 1993-1996
  27. Bernice Friedes and Jean Krosner, 1996-2000
  28. Rita Fishman, 2000-2003
  29. Natalie Katz, 2003-


Council of Jewish Women is founded
November 22, 1894
New York Section organizes, Rebekah Kohut serves as its First President. Board Meetings are held primarily at Temple Emanuel with occasional meetings held at West End and other synagogues. Seven Study Circles form for Religious study and three for Philanthropy
New York Section lobbies in support of child labor laws, mother's pensions, slum clearance, low-income housing, and public health programs
November 1896
NY Section hosts CJW's First Convention
Red Cross Auxiliary forms to help support medical needs during the Spanish-American War
May 17 1899
A recreation club opens at 79 Orchard Street for girls and women. The club expands into two houses and becomes known as Recreation Rooms and Settlement. A Sunday School starts for children on Randall's Island (see Board Minutes, February 20, 1911)
Early minutes describe four bible study circles, three house libraries that lend books to children and hold lectures and discussion groups, three Sabbath schools, the Recreation Room on 79 Orchard Street, and religious classes for girls at the House of Refuge on Randall's Island
Mothers meetings are described in the early minutes; February 20th minutes mention the Sunday Sabbath Question
Sadie American becomes President of NY CJW and also serves as Secretary of the National organization
Investigations into the conditions for immigrant girls begins
Ellis Island dock intake work begins at President Grover Cleveland's request; Minutes record follow up visits being made to the families of girls in House of Refuge on Randall’s Island; Religious classes held at the Hospital on Randall’s Island. As a result of the Conference on Rescue Work on April 11, 1904, a regular visitor goes to Bedford Reformatory and Juvenile Court
Recreation Rooms and Settlement, later known as Chrystie Street Settlement, becomes an independent entity
November 1905
A home for unmarried mothers and wayward girls opens in Staten Island; Members of the newly formed Junior Section visit patients at Bellevue Hospital
Minutes describe a Mother's Club and work with the"indigent blind"
Committee on Blind forms
Minutes describe visiting the "old Folks" on Blackwell's Island. The following committees are noted in the minutes: Religion, Religious Schools, Junior Section, Philanthropy, Immigrant Aid, Lakeview, Blackwell's Island, Hospitals, Blind, Correctional Institutions, Harlem Federation, Programs, Membership, Press, Reciprocity, Social, Education, and Finance
The home for unmarried mothers is incorporated and is now officially called Lakeview Home. It is dedicated on April 9, 1910; the Board of Directors of the New York Section incorporates and is called "Trustees of the Trust Funds of the Council of Jewish Women of the City of NY"
Chanukah Stockings Appeal; little blue stockings made by girls in Lakeview Home, are distributed to members to fill up with change. They are sent after Christmas "in order to avoid undue criticism." (see Board Minutes December 4, 1911)
May 6, 1912
Volunteers are present at port to receive victims of the Titanic
December 1912
"The Bulletin" is issued as an ongoing newsletter
Committee on Blind changes name to Guild for the Jewish Blind
New York Guild for Jewish Blind becomes an independent entity
New York Section lobbies in support of minimum wage laws, Women's Suffrage, anti-discrimination laws, and liberalized immigration quotas
February 23, 1915
An office for the New York Section, "a home of its own" is rented at 31 East 7th Street
September 20, 1915
NY Section secedes in response to National Council's attacks on Sadie American. American is forced to resign as Executive Secretary of the National Office. Binding arbitration rules in favor of the National Office. American and the New York Section Board members resign
NY Section reorganized with a new President and Board Members. Board minutes are now typewritten. Office on East 7th Street moves to a room in the National Committee on Immigrant Aid's building on 242 East Broadway. Conforming with National Policy, three committees with various sub-committees are organized: Religion, Philanthropy, and Education. Last study circle meets; Religious schools are maintained by the Educational Alliance, with plans to open a new school
January 1917
Parole work begins for the workhouse and Penitentiary on Blackwell's Island and Auburn State Prison
March 1917
New headquarters that will include the religious school, opens at 71 St. Marks Place
May 1917
Lakeview Home becomes an independent entity
Book of Prayer for Jewish Girls published by NY Section; Junior Auxiliary forms; Volunteers assist nurses in an influenza epidemic; New York Section participates as a member of the National League for Women's Service and the Red Cross; New York Section supports War efforts financially by donating to the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and The Jewish Welfare Board; Volunteers make bandages in collaboration with the Red Cross; Girls Home Club forms, a refuge for parolees, and haven for teenage girls in need of guidance. The building is located on 418 East 50th Street
First afternoon day class in English for Foreign Born Mothers, cooperation with Board of Education. Classes in English to Foreigners are offered in various parts of the city
New York Section moves to a larger space on 74 St. Marks Place and calls it Council House; classes in religion are offered for Jewish Deaf Children in public schools; first Rummage Sale
New York Section starts Council Sabbath, an annual event corresponding to the Sabbath closest to Purim. Council members deliver speeches and conduct special services at various synagogues. The idea is conceived by New York Section at the Triennial (see Board minutes, April 6, 1921). Board rules to keep Headquarters open on the Sabbath (see Board minutes, May 9, 1921). Girls' and Boys' League forms, the program is only mentioned in Board minutes for one year
Council for Jewish Women is renamed National Council for Jewish Women (see Board minutes, May 1924)
Junior Auxiliary undertakes the establishment of a summer camp in 1927 for poor children (see Board minutes, January 13, 1926); Girls Home Club, at 418 East 50th Street, is sold due to changes in neighborhood conditions, and moves to 141st Street between Amsterdam and Convent Avenues (see Board minutes, November 11, 1925 and April 14, 1926); Laying of cornerstone for the Welfare Island Synagogue occurs on May 26, 1926. First class in Citizenship Training
NY Section builds and maintains Welfare Island Synagogue; Survey is conducted to determine if Council House should be moved from its current location due to changes in neighborhood conditions (see Board minutes, January 12, 1927); Junior Auxiliary opens a camp near Danbury, CT, given by Mr. and Mrs. Julius Fohs in memory of their daughter Ella, who served as Past President of the New York Section's Junior Auxiliary (see Board minutes March 9, 1927); Committee on Immigrant Aid takes charge of International Immigrant Aid work in New York City; 74 St. Marks Place is sold, NY NCJW can remain in the building until November 1st, 1928 (see Board minutes, December 14, 1927); Joint Committee on Education (including Council Juniors, see Board minutes, March 14, 1928) participates in a survey of the physical conditions for New York City schools; Central Club Council forms, representing all Mothers Clubs
Chanukah blue stockings appeal is eliminated (see Board minutes, February 8, 1928); Girls' Home Club and the Religious schools at Council House are taken over by other organizations, in order to defray the NY Section's deficit (see Board minutes, May 14, 1928); Executive Committee is formed (see Board minutes, October 10, 1928); Ella Fohs camp moves to New Milford, CT (see Board minutes, November 14, 1928)
January 1, 1929
Girls Home Club closes as the casework has declined; the trend is to place girls in homes (see Board minutes, October 10, 1928)
March 1, 1929
Council House moves to Bronx on 1122 Forest Avenue
Junior Auxiliary disbands and joins Senior Section, a separate Junior Auxiliary forms for the Ella Fohs Camp Committee; an Economy Shop is opened, Rummage sales continue to be held (see Board minutes, November 13 and December 11, 1929)
Committee on Immigrant Aid is renamed "Service for the Foreign Born"
Mothers' Health Bureau, a maternal health clinic opens at Council House by the American Birth Control League, as well as a pre- school clinic (see Board minutes, February 11, 1931); an Association of Adult Students in Day classes in English and Citizenship forms; Summer Camp for mothers and young children opens, organized by Mothers Clubs (see Board minutes, April 7, 1931)
Junior Committee formed, uniting the existing Junior Committee and the Junior Auxiliary of the Ella Fohs Camp Committee (see Executive Board minutes, February 7, 1933); Bronx Committee forms; New York Section continues to face a large deficit
The Executive Committee enforces Orthodox standards on a religious school run by Union of American Hebrew Congregations at Council House (see Executive minutes, October 5, 1934); Mother’s Clubs last mentioned in the Bulletin (see Bulletin, October 1934)
Council Shop opens October 10th (see Executive Board minutes, September 25, 1935); Teas for Membership begin, and transform into branches (see Board minutes, February 13, 1935, Bulletin, November 1935)
New York Section moves its headquarters and the Service for the Foreign Born into the same building as the National Council's offices (see Executive Minutes, March 17, 1936); Governess Training Fund helps German refugees; branches consist of Park East, Stuyvesant, Washington Square, and West End (see Bulletin, January 1936)
Annual donations to the Ella Fohs Camp stops
The Service for the Foreign Born begins a second training project, Visiting Waitress Service, a previous project was the Governess Training (see Bulletin, October 1938)
A Central agency (National Refugee Service) is formed to help New York immigration relief agencies. The New York Section's Service for the Foreign Born will continue to help refugees who live in New York locate relatives, prepare affidavits, provide immigration information, handle casework, and provide retraining, translation and naturalization services. The central agency will work with the mass refugee program, and undertake New York Section's employment department and temporary visa cases. (see Executive Minutes, March 31, 1939); Minutes are recorded in a bound volume in longhand and Board meetings are held in Officer's homes; Washington Heights Day Nursery for preschoolers of working refugee mothers opens September 18, 1939 (see Executive minutes, September 13, 1939); Council Shop merges with Thrift Mart, a shop run by the Bronx Women's Committee of the Jewish Distribution Committee (see Executive minutes, October 30, 1939); Volunteers are solicited to teach English to Foreigners
New York Section establishes a Red Cross Workroom at 1819 Broadway (see Executive minutes, July 9, 1940) and the Committee on Refugee Education is operating over 60 classes; 500 African-American families protest against banning their children from the Summer Play School at Council House (see Executive minutes, September 9, 1940); Gift Shop opens at 799 Lexington Avenue (see Executive minutes, November 19, 1940)
Council Thrift Shop cooperates with Self Help Clothing Room, run by the National Refugee Service in providing clothing to refugees. The Greater New York Federation of Churches joins the Clothing for Emigres, which is run at 19 West 44th Street (see Executive minutes, February 6, 1941); New York Section merges Washington Heights Day Nursery with Eisman Day Nursery, another nursery serving mainly refugees. (see Executive minutes, May 9, 1941); Camp Council opens June 15, 1941, a summer camp donated by Bernard London for underprivileged children in Sandisfield, MA (see Executive minutes, June 6, 1939); Offices of the New York Section's Service for the Foreign Born moves part of its offices into the National Refugee Service's building at 139 Center Street and maintains a small building mid-town, curtailing its services (see Executive minutes, July 1 and December 8, 1941); Headquarters move to 1819 Broadway (see Executive minutes, December 18, 1941); First Aid Classes are organized by the Defense Committee
Defense Committee works on educating the public on salvage collection; A new center is proposed to serve the African-American population in the Bronx (see Executive minutes, May 12, 1942); Training for home nurses begins; Classes for the Deaf are taken over by the Society for the Welfare of the Jewish Deaf (see Executive minutes, July 7, 1942); Consumer Education Center opens
Council Club, a dormitory and breakfast club for service men opens April 11, 1943 at Temple Beth El (see Executive minutes, January 6, 1943); Eisman Day Nursery moves to 304 West 88th Street (see Executive minutes, May 5, 1943); Consumer Education Center closes due to inability of the City to maintain it; Support for Clothing for Émigrés stops December 1943 (see Executive minutes, October 5, 1942 and July 14, 1943)
Red Cross closes New York Section's Red Cross Workroom due to lack of supplies (see Executive minutes, December 6, 1944); Plans to transfer Council House to the community begin in earnest; New York Section celebrates its Fiftieth Anniversary
January 31, 1945 minutes list the following branches: Career Group, Fordham, Junior Committee, Midtown, Park East, Park Side, Stuyvesant, Village Group, Washington Heights, West End, Town Group, and Manhattan Juniors; Council House is turned over to the Community, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and Mayor LaGuardia speak at conveyance dinner held March 27, 1945, Council House later known as Forest Neighborhood House; Trained project for foreign waitresses ends, many of them having permanently been employed (see Executive minutes, April 18, 1945) ; First mention of possible projects in group therapy (see Executive minutes, May 16, 1945); New York Section sells $1.6 million in War Bonds, enough to buy three C54 planes (see Executive minutes, June 6, June 20, and December 19, 1945); Center Street office for the Service for the Foreign Born is taken over by the Veterans' Division, Service moves entirely into 1819 Broadway (see Executive minutes, September 5, 1945); Thrift Shop forced to vacate its premises, moves to 842 Ninth Avenue; Group therapy project develops into a Child Care Center, a cooperative program with the Jewish Board of Guardians (see Executive minutes, September 12, 1945); Club rooms for Elderly People at Broadway and 110th Street are proposed (see Executive minutes, September 12, 1945)
Council Club closes March 25, 1946 (see Executive minutes, January 16, 1946); Council Club for Older People opens March 31, 1946 at 2727 Broadway (see Executive minutes, March 12, 1946); Service of the Foreign Born moves temporarily to 2 East 76th Street at Temple Beth-El, while looking for a larger space (see Executive minutes, April 17, 1946); National Refugee Service and the National Council's Service for the Foreign Born merges to form United Service for New Americans, NY Section's Service for the Foreign Born remains independent (see Executive minutes, May 15, 1946); Service for the Foreign Born moves to 15 Park Row (see Executive minutes, September 17, 1946)
Council Child Development Center, a treatment center for emotionally disturbed children, opens January 8, 1947 (see Executive minutes, January 8, 1947); Camp Council in New Boston is sold and a search begins for an expanded location nearer to New York (see Executive minutes, May 15, 1946 and March 19, 1947), a day camp is started in the meantime at Tibbetts Brook (see Executive minutes, May 8, 1947); Ship-A-Box project begins (see Executive minutes, December 17, 1947 and March 31, 1948)
New York Board of Rabbis oversees the religious work previously supervised by New York Section at Welfare Island, New York Section will concentrate on hospital work only (see Executive minutes, November 3, 1948); Executive minutes return to being typed
Bronx branch forms into its own Section (see Executive minutes, February 16, 1949); Fordham and Parkchester branches join Bronx Section (see Executive minutes, March 23, 1949); Children's Recreation Program at Metropolitan Hospital on Welfare Island starts, in conjunction with the hospital's social service auxiliary (see Executive minutes, April 13, 1949); First Annual Forum held on October 18, 1949, the subject is mental health
New York Section lobbies for child labor reform, anti-segregation, divorce law reforms, day care programs, child adoption reforms, anti-discriminatory immigration laws, separation of church and state, and anti-residency requirements for relief recipients.
NY Section dedicates the Gilda Roaman Chapel April 30, 1950 in Goldwater Memorial Hospital on Roosevelt Island (see Executive minutes, July 5, 1949 and March 15, 1950); Eisman Day Nursery removes New York Section's name from the sign on its building (see Executive minutes, February 1, 1950); Councilettes integrate as a branch, into the New York Section (see Executive minutes, May 17, 1950)
Eisman Day Nursery is financially stable and New York Section severs its affiliation (see Executive minutes, February 7, 1951); New York Section begins selling Israeli bonds (see Executive minutes, April 3, 1951)
The following branches are listed in the June 4, 1952 Executive minutes: Child Service, Circle, Colony, Cooper-Stuyvesant, Cosmopolitan, East End, Empire, Gotham, Gramercy Park, Harmony, Junior Committee, Midtown, Pyramid, Stuyvesant, Town & Country, Unity, and Washington Heights; Sun-N-Fun, Sunday day outings for camp alumni begins (see Executive minutes, July 16, 1952); Thrift shop holds an Americana Ball, a precursor to Angela's Ball (see Bulletin, October 1952); Council Teen-Age Club opens December 30, 1952, providing recreation for youth in the evenings at Council Club for Older People, in collaboration with 92nd Street Y and Youth Board (see Executive minutes, September 10, 1952)
City Home Hospital closes, the synagogue services end, synagogue is kept open for general use (see Executive minutes, May 6 and September 14, 1953); New York Section reduces its support for the Council Child Development Center, the center is able to exist independently with the help of the Jewish Board of Guardians (see Executive minutes, December 16, 1953); Angels' Ball, a Thrift Shop event is held (see Executive minutes, November 17, 1954, Bulletin, October 1953)
United Service for New Americans and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society merge, the New York Section's Service for the Foreign Born remains independent, working on immigration on a local level (see Executive minutes, January 27, 1954); County Fair, a fundraising event at 101st Division Armory 94th Street and Park Avenue takes place March 30, 1954; New York Section buys a house of its own on 9 East 69th Street on April 16, 1954 and is dedicated May 3, 1954; Last Councilettes meeting held (see Bulletin, October 1954)
New York Section absorbs the Brooklyn Section's Service for the Foreign Born (see Executive minutes, May 11, 1955); Second County Fair takes place (see Executive minutes, July 20, 1955); day camp for older people proposed on same property as children's day camp (see Executive minutes, November 23, 1955); Council Gift Corner, a gift boutique in the headquarters lobby opens (see Executive minutes, January 9, 1956); Metropolitan Hospital moves to Manhattan (see Bulletin, October 1955)
New York Section withdraws its support from Council Child Development Center September 1956 (see Executive minutes, March 28, 1956); the Park West Neighborhood Association proposes a part time spot employment agency for Senior Citizens to the New York Section (see Executive minutes, June 6, 1956 and January 23, 1957); Camp property is bought in Nanuet, NY; Men's Advisory Real Estate Committee, previously existing based on temporary need, becomes permanent (see Executive minutes, October 3, 1956); Council Teen-Age Club closes in January 1956 due to a lack of trained personnel (see Executive minutes, November 9, 1955, Bulletin, January 1956, Folder 39/2)
Synagogue building in the closed City Hospital on Welfare Island, left open for general use and now in great disrepair, is completely dismantled (see Executive minutes, January 23, 1957); Forest House turns the deed to its building over to New York Section, being unable financially to support itself (see Executive minutes, October 10, 1956 and March 6, 1957); New York Section sells the Forest House building (see Executive minutes, April 3, 1957); Council Club for Older People moves to 2565 Broadway September 19, 1957 (see Executive minutes, July 18 and August 28, 1956) and is renamed after the past President, Katharine Engel Center for Older People (see Executive minutes, April 3, 1957); the new Center includes a Meals on Wheels program, Friendly Visiting program, and a pilot program: Sheltered Workshop
Council Youth Program begins to assist boys held at Brooklyn House of Detention (see Executive minutes, March 26, 1958)
New York Section helps the national office raise funds for Hebrew University Model High School Building Project in Israel (see Executive minutes, April 15, 1959); Sheltered Workshop moves out of the KEC building to 651 West 125th Street (see Executive minutes, April 20, 1960) and is renamed Council Workshop for Seniors (see Executive minutes, May 23, 1960); Council Gift Corner name changes to Council Corner (see Executive minutes, April 20, 1960)
Eleven branches consist of: Colony, Cooper-Stuyvesant, Empire, Gramercy Park, Harmony, Junior Committee, London Terrace, Regency, Stuyvesant, Washington Heights, and Young New Yorkers (see Bulletin, December 1961)
Children's Recreation Program at Metropolitan Hospital on Welfare Island is turned over to the hospital's social service auxiliary (see Executive minutes, June 27, 1962)
Volunteer services at Goldwater Memorial Hospital are extended to include all patients on a non-sectarian basis (see Executive minutes, November 29, 1961 and October 30, 1963)
Pre-Kindergarten Volunteer program begins in eight schools October 5, 1964 (see Executive minutes, March 25, May 6, May 27, June 28, September 9, 1964)
Women are transferred to the Brooklyn House of Detention, expanding the Council Youth Program (see Executive minutes, April 7, 1965); Chosen by Mayor Wagner to participate in pre-Kindergarten classes as part of the Federal Head Start Program (see Executive minutes, April 7, June 2, June 16, 1965); WICS, a Job Corps program educating girls to be employable in distressed areas, begins as a National Council program in cooperation with National Council of Catholic Women, National Council of Negro women, and United Church Women (see Executive minutes, March 3, June 2, 1965); Angels Ball no longer listed as solely a Thrift Shop event (see Executive minutes, Public Relations budget, December 15, 1965); New York Section hosts the NCJW National Convention (see Executive minutes, June 27, August 29, September 5, and October 31, 1962, October 28, 1964); First Ruth Hess Leadership course, named after former Vice President, provides leadership training to promising volunteers (see Bulletin, December1965-January 1966)
Council Workshop for Senior Citizens begins a homebound workers program (see Executive minutes, May 11, 1966); Junior Committee is no longer considered a Branch and is placed under the Ways and Means Committee (see Executive minutes, June 22, 1966); a Greenhouse is erected at Goldwater Memorial Hospital (see Executive minutes, December 7, 1966)
New York Section begins a Volunteer Day Care Center Program (see Executive minutes, June 29, 1966); New York Section withdraws the Council Youth Program from the Brooklyn House of Detention, since the program was run more as an arm of the Correction personnel rather than a Council project (see Executive minutes, June 15, 1967)
Research Institute for Innovation on Education in Israel is established. NY Section with other Council Sections, begins raising financial support; Spring Luncheon is cancelled, in tribute to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated. The proceeds go to the Mayor's Commission on Youth and Physical Fitness (see Bulletin, May 1968)
Volunteer Day Care Center Program starts Book-Go-Round, a bookmobile, on October 2, 1969 (see Executive minutes, December 18, 1968); New York Section celebrates its 75th Anniversary; Katharine Engel Center moves to the Park Royal Hotel (see Executive minutes, June 15, 1966, June 4, July 16, 1969)
Book-Go-Round begins visiting the Children's Center at Fifth Avenue and 104th Street and the Housing projects that have Day Care Centers (see Executive minutes, March 25, 1970); National Office begins a two year survey evaluating the nation's Justice System for children, the committee is called Task Force on Justice for Children. National Office publishes its full report in Spring 1973 (see Executive minutes, March 25, 1969, September 6, 1972); eight branches include: Colony, Cooper-Stuyvesant, Cosmopolitan, Empire, Gramercy Park, Harmony, Regency, and Village (see Bulletin, June 1970)
Angela's Ball transformed into An Evening with Lady Luck (see Executive minutes, September 6, December 11, 1972, Bulletin, Summer 1972); last Ruth Hess Leadership course
Volunteer Day Care Center Program name changed to Children’s Library Program (see Executive minutes, March 7, 1973); Council Workshop for Seniors moves from 651 West 125th Street to 915 Broadway (see Executive minutes, April 9, 1973)
New York Section launches its own Justice for Children project with the New York State Division of Youth, training volunteers to work in family court and their offices to help minor offenses and the New York City Intake Probation Department, and to help families and children at Manhattan Family Court and their offices (see Executive minutes, June 25, 1975); Children's Library Program involved in the dedication of the Stanley Isaacs Community Library at the Stanley Isaacs Senior Citizens Center, in cooperation with New York Public Library and the Stanley Isaacs Senior Center (see Executive minutes, August 6, 1975)
Service for the Foreign Born is dismantled December 31, 1976 due to decreased caseload and financial support and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society takes over the caseload. Yeshiva University and HIAS hold its records (see Executive minutes, March 7, 1973, January 29, February 12, April 16, December 3, 1975, January 7, February 11, April 19, June 2, June 23, September 15, September 30, November 3, December 1, 1976, January 12, 1977); the Katharine Engel Center moves into its own building at 241 West 72nd Street in December 1975 (see Executive minutes, October 1, November 5, 1975); Councilettes, a youth group, is organized by the New York Section beginning February 1976, based upon the National Office's program (see Executive minutes, December 19, 1973, December 3, 1975, January 12, 1977)
New York Section hosts the National Biennial Convention (see Executive minutes, February 12, 1975, March 3, 1976); Men's Advisory Committee started (see Executive minutes, October 5, 1977)
Junior Committee celebrates its 45th year and is honored at An Evening with Lady Luck (see Executive minutes, August 9, 1978)
The Katharine Engel Center's building is dedicated to former President Carol Bernstein (see Executive minutes, March 28, 1979); a Carol Bernstein Scholarship is established at the NCJW Institute for Research in Education in Israel in early childhood education (see Executive minutes, July 18, 1979)
New York Section lobbies for: Child Care, Family and Medical Leave, all Pro-Choice legislation, Home care for the Elderly, Homeless, Hungry, and Welfare Reform
The Children's Library Committee dedicates the Carol Bernstein Memorial Library at Goddard-Riverside Day Care Center in January 1980 (see Executive minutes, July 18, October 3, 1979); Children’s Library Program begins distributing inexpensive books for personal ownership to children through the Reading is Fundamental Organization (see Executive minutes, November 7, 1979); Council Sabbath is reactivated and an Oneg Shabbat takes place at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue (see Executive minutes July 9, September 3, 1980), Justice for Children is renamed the Manhattan Family Court Service Program (see Executive minutes, September 3, 1980)
The Children's Library Program dedicates a library at Elizabeth Blackwell School on Roosevelt Island on May 7, 1981 (see Executive minutes, March 4, 1981); the sale of a Torah in the Roosevelt Island Chapel allows for the establishment of a Torah Scholarship Fund for the Roosevelt Island Disabled (see Executive minutes, June 3, 1981)
The Jewish Women's Resource Center, a feminist library and resource center formed in 1977, becomes part of the New York Section (see Executive minutes, February 3, March 3, 1982); Six branches: Business and Professional Women, Village-Gramercy, Carlton Group, Colony, Cosmopolitan, and Young Women's Evening Branch (see Bulletin, Spring 1982)
Council Child Care Center opens in the Garden Room of Council House on August 1, 1983 in association with the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, for employees of Jewish communal agencies (see Executive minutes, March 4, 1981, January 6, February 2 & 3, May 5, July 21, 1982, April 6, 1983); Council Workshop for Seniors is phased out due to a lack of financial support in March 1983 (see Executive minutes, October 13, 1982); Pregnancy Loss Support Program begins as part of the Jewish Women's Resource Center (see Executive minutes,November 3, 1982); the Services for the Hungry Project begins with a Wednesday Soup Kitchen on June 15, 1983 at the Katharine Engel Center (see Executive minutes, March 2, April 19, May 4, 1983); a second Thrift Shop opens to expand the current shop's space (see Executive minutes, March 9, April 13, June 1, 1983)
Torah Scholarship Fund is renamed the Jackson-Stricks Torah Scholarship Fund, in honor of Fannie Jackson and Ray Stricks, two sisters who have purchased the Roosevelt Island Torah (see Executive minutes, February 8, 1984); the Pregnancy Loss Peer Counseling Program, formed by the Jewish Women's Resource Center, becomes a separate community service project (see Executive minutes, May 2, 1984)
Hands Across 72nd Street, a Food Pantry Program opens April 30, 1985 in partnership with Metropolitan New York Baptist Association, offering three day emergency packages (see Executive minutes, February 6, 1985); Manhattan Family Court Program, due to a lack of involvement, ends in April 1985 (see Executive minutes, November 26, 1984, March 6, 1985); Pregnancy Loss Peer Counseling changes its name to Pregnancy Loss Peer Support (see Executive minutes, June 5, 1985); First Ruth Samuel Lecture Series is held for members (see Executive minutes, October 2, 1985); Knit Wit Volunteers, who create items for Ship-A-Box, is formed (see Executive minutes, July 13, 1983, November 6, 1985); Last An Evening With Lady Luck fundraiser held; first Oral History Project conducted, interviewing the first class of female Rabbinical students at Jewish Theological Seminary (see Bulletin, Spring 1990)
Senior Options Support Program (S.O.S), an advice and referral hotline to help seniors and their children begins January 1, 1986 (see Executive minutes, September 4, November 6, 1985); Pregnancy Loss Peer Support Group is renamed Pregnancy Loss Support Group (see Executive minutes, November 5, 1986)
Troubleshooters, a consumer information and referral telephone service, begins January 1987 in partnership with WCBS-TV, who provides spot announcements (see Executive minutes, July 2, December 3, 1986)
Whitney Artreach Program, introducing American art in elementary and intermediate public schools starts (see Executive minutes, January 6, 1988); Council Child Care Center closes July 1, 1988 (see Executive minutes, October 1, 1986, February 3, 1988); Fashion Sale fundraisers begin (see Executive minutes, November 4, 1987, February 3, 1988); first Gail H. Coates Scholarship awarded for graduate study in special education (see Bulletin, Winter 1988); Tel-A-Friend and After School Program for Latch key and Hotel children started (see Bulletin, Spring 1988)
AIDS Friendly Visitor Program, at Goldwater Memorial Hospital begins (see Executive minutes, May 3, June 7, 1989); the Whitney Art Reach Program becomes a separate community service project (see Executive minutes, June 7, 1989); Parents Who Are Alienated From Their Children support group starts, sponsored by S.O.S. (see Executive minutes, August 15, 1990)
New York Section lobbies for Reproductive Rights, Aging, Family and Work Needs, Health Care, Hunger, Crime Prevention, Education, and Israel
Great Sundays, a seven-session program for mothers and children temporary living at Alexander Abraham Shelter is held (see Executive minutes, May 2, 1990); Council Thrift shop moves to 767 Ninth Avenue April 27, 1990 (see Executive minutes, September 6, October 25, 1989, May 2, 1990); Book-Go-Round ends, due to lack of attendance (see Bulletin, Spring 1990); S.O.S. begins a program at the Jewish Home and Hospital for the Aged on the Upper West Side, called "Welcome a New Resident" (see Board minutes, March 28, June 13, 1990)
Sunday Brunch opens December 8, 1991, a family soup kitchen (see Executive minutes, February 6, August 6, October 2, December 4, 1991); the first Nite of Fun fundraiser is held October 16, 1991 (see Executive minutes, August 6, 1991); Children's Library Program is renamed to Children's Literacy Program (see Executive minutes, October 30, 1991)
New York Section begins a Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) Program in the South Bronx on November 2, 1992, in collaboration with the Citizens Advice Bureau and United Neighborhood Houses. The program, developed at NCJW's Research Institute for Innovation in Education at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1969, teaches mothers how to teach their preschoolers at home (see Executive minutes, March 6, May 1, September 4, 1991, December 2, 1992); the Pediatric Aids Caring Team (PACT) begins, offering visiting, family support, and home outreach services to families who have babies with AIDS who live at the Incarnation Children's Center in Washington Heights. The program is in cooperation with Northern Lights and Alternatives. (see Executive minutes, May 6, 1992)
New York Section celebrates its 100th Anniversary; Evelyn Sleppin Campership Scholarship is established, allowing poor children to attend Camp Vacamos in West Milford, NJ (see Executive minutes, November 2, 1994)
The Katharine Engel Center is renamed NCJW New York Section Council Senior Center and celebrates its 50th Anniversary (see Executive minutes, November 2, 1994, January 4, March 1, 1995); the Thrift Shop moves from Ninth Avenue to 246 East 84th Street (see Executive minutes, June 7, 1995)
New York Section heads a Sweatshop Conference and organizes a No Sweatshop Coalition with other women's groups (see Executive minutes, March 13, 1996); Troubleshooters closes due to problems with WCBS-TV (see Executive minutes, October 29, 1996)
A Bereavement Support Group for New York Section members begins February 1997 (see Executive minutes, June 26, October 29, 1996); Mothers Who Are Separated From Adult Children Support Group begins (see Executive minutes, April 2, 1997); New York Section now supports five HIPPY programs (see Executive minutes, May 7, 1997); Ship-A-Box is last mentioned (see Yearbook 1997)
Bereavement Support Groups are moved from Membership to Community Services (see Executive minutes, April 1, 1998)
Yad B'Yad, a National Council project that provides grants to help at-risk families in Israel replaces the defunct Ship-A-Box as a fundraising program for the NY Section (see Executive minutes, November 4, 1998, June 2, June 15, 1999); the Elder Abuse Conference takes place (see Executive minutes, March 2, 1999); New York Section co-chairs New York Walks to End Domestic Violence in Riverside Park on October 24, 1999 (see Executive minutes, May 5, 1999); Toys for Education and Creative Help (TEACH) supplies educational equipment to registered day care providers
New York Section moves to its new headquarters at 820 2nd Avenue. The dedication is January 6, 2000 (see Executive minutes, January 21, 1998, March 2, April 21, June 2, 1999, January 5, 2000); Troubleshooters is reactivated with WCBS-TV March 2000 (see Executive minutes, February 2, March 1, 2000); a Divorce Support Group begins (see Executive minutes, April 5, 2000); Jewish Women's Resource Center is named in honor of Eleanor Leff on November 15, 2000 (see Executive minutes, October 4, 2000)
WCBS-TV contacts the New York Section about beginning a new community service project (see Executive minutes, August 1, 2001); NY1 for You Program, a telephone referral helpline in cooperation with NY1News to help those affected by the World Trade Center bombing begins November 7, 2001 (see Executive minutes, October 11, November 7, 2001); HIPPY has four sites (see Executive minutes November 7, 2001)
Enid Loeb Large Print Library dedicated at the Council Senior Center on October 23, 2002 (see Executive minutes, October 2, 2002); Cosmopolitan/Carlton branch solely exists

Chronology was compiled from the National Council of Jewish Women, New York Section, Records, Collection of the American Jewish Historical Society, Newton Centre, MA and New York, NY.


  1. 1. Faith Rogow, Gone to Another Meeting: The National Council of Jewish Women, 1893-1993 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1993), 15, 22, 23.
  2. 2. Rogow, 25
  3. 3. Rebekah Kohut, My Portion: An Autobiography (New York: Thomas Seltzer, 1925), 202.
  4. 4. Kohut, 199-204, 222.
  5. 5. Faith Rogow, Gone to Another Meeting, 60.
  6. 6. Faith Rogow, Gone to Another Meeting, 69
  7. 7. Rebekah Kohut, "Report of the New York Section, 1896,"in The American Jewish Women-Documents, 433-434.
  8. 8. Cited in Rogow, Gone to Another Meeting, 67
  9. 9. Rogow, 44-45, 98
  10. 10. "National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods," in Jewish American Voluntary Organizations, ed. Michael N. Dobkowski (New York: GreenwoodPress, 1986), 343.
  11. 11. Rogow, 118.
  12. 12. Rogow, 102-124.
  13. 13. Kohut, 244.
  14. 14. Report to the Board of Directors on the Roosevelt Island Services, 12 December 1984, National Council of Jewish Women New York Section Collection, American Jewish Historical Society, New York City, hereafter cited as NCJW-NY.
  15. 15. "Dedication Ceremonies, April 1954," 9 East 69th Street, NCJW-NY.
  16. 16. Minutes, First Monthly Meeting, October 17, 1916, Monthly MeetingMinutes, 1916-1919, p. 4, NCJW-NY.
  17. 17. Monthly Meeting Minutes, October 17, 1916, p. 4.
  18. 18. Kohut, 265-66.


68.75 Linear Feet (97 manuscript boxes, 1 half manuscript box, 8 (16 x 20") oversized boxes, 4 (13 x 18")

Language of Materials





Greek, Modern (1453-)

Spanish; Castilian




The records of the National Council of Jewish Women, New York Section document the organization's community service, advocacy, and supportive administrative, fundraising, membership, and public relations activities from the Section's early years to the present. Included is a large amount of material from the National Organization in relation to the New York Section. This material is dated from 1896 to 1999 and consists of administrative, events, and advocacy matters. The New York Section's community services files include its work on aging, child care, consumer telephone referrals, counseling support, crime prevention, the disabled, domestic violence, early child education, feminism, homelessness, hunger, immigrants, Israel, Jewish education and promotion, literacy, probation, the sick, summer recreation for children and the elderly, and war relief. The Section's advocacy files consist of lobbying efforts for the rights of children, the disabled, the elderly, families, the homeless, immigrants, Israel, and women. The collection is primarily in English, with some Hebrew, Yiddish, German, Greek, Spanish, Chinese, and Italian. Among the types of material are audio tapes, blueprints, correspondence, minutes, photographs, publications, scrapbooks, and scripts.

Acquisition Information

Donated by the National Council of Jewish Women, New York Section in 2003 and 2005

Related Material

Several Record Groups at the American Jewish Historical Society, YIVO Archives, Library of Congress and Yeshiva University are considered to be related records to the National Council of Jewish Women, New York Section Records. They are:

American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, New York, NY

  1. Max James Kohler Papers (P-7)
  2. Louis Broido Papers (P-161)
  3. Cecilia Razovsky Papers (P-290)
  4. Cecilia Greenstone Photographs (P-683)
  5. Jewish ImmigrationCommittee (New York, NY) Records (I-84)
  6. Industrial Removal Office Records (I-91)

YIVO Institute, Center for Jewish History, New York, NY

  1. United Service for New AmericansRecords (RG 246)
  2. National Coordinating Committee for Aid toRefugees Coming from Germany (RG 247)
  3. National Refugee Service (RG248)
  4. German-Jewish Children's Aid (RG249)

Yeshiva University, New York, NY

  1. NationalCouncil of Women, Department of Service for Foreign Born Records

Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C

  1. National Council of Jewish Women Records

Processing Information

Processing this collection involved encapsulating photos, photocopying newsprint and thermofaxes, reboxing, refoldering using acid-free archival supplies, removing rubber bands, removing staples and paperclips (and other metal fasteners), separating photographs, audio-visual media, artifacts.

Guide to the Records of the National Council of Jewish Women, New York Section (1894- ), undated, 1895-2004 *I-469
Processed by Jenny Reeder and Adina Anflick
© 2005
Description rules
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Language of description
Script of description
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Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • April 2021: RJohnstone: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States